The poodle is arguably the most distinctive-looking breed of dog, and one that is readily recognisable to even non dog lovers. This is often in large part due to the highly distinctive clipping and grooming patterns that are used to maintain the coat of the poodle, which is thick, wiry and dense, and does not shed as much fur as most other breeds of dog.
The reasons, both modern and historical, for clipping poodles are due to the fairly unique nature of the poodle’s coat. Their fur can be difficult to brush and comb due to its density and propensity to hold the hairs that is sheds, and left unclipped or trimmed, can mean that a significant of time each day must be spent attending to the coat and keeping it free of knots and matting. As a result of this, poodle owners and breeders have over time evolved a variety of poodle “hair cuts” that keep the fur manageable while still protecting the poodle from the elements and the knocks and bumps of modern life, and often involve clipping or shaving certain areas of the body to make it easier to maintain.
If you own a poodle and are wondering what coat style is best for them, this article will give you a rundown of the most common and popular pet poodle clips and their advantages.
The most well known style of coat clip for the poodle is the show clip, and this is the style of clip that most people think of when they think “poodle.” This style of clip is rather more complex to undertake than the other styles of clip, requires a lot of regular maintenance to keep it looking good, and is often thought to be fairly impractical, as well as cold in the winter! Unless your dog is a show-standard poodle and you intend to show them, you may well find one of the popular pet poodle clips are a better match for both your dog’s conformation and their lifestyle.
The kennel clip involves shaving the dog’s face, feet and tail, leaving a topknot on the head and pom-pom at the end of the tail, and clipping the legs and the body relatively short as well. The ears are also clipped or trimmed too, the length and style depending on the owner’s preferences. The kennel clip is one of the easier clips to undertake and maintain, and is a good match for poodles with an active lifestyle that enjoy a lot of running in rural areas or even swimming.
The sporting clip leaves the leg fur much longer than that found on the kennel clip, and feathers the fur at the top of the legs into the fur of the body so that its appearance blends in. The fur of the body is trimmed down to around an inch long, with the rest of the styling being similar to the kennel clip. This style of clipping is less pronounced than the kennel clip and can provide a more natural appearance.
The pattern of the lamb clip follows that of the sporting clip, but with the fur across all areas of the body left longer. The sporting clip usually trims the fur down to around an inch long, while the lamb clip leaves it two or three inches long instead.
The puppy clip is not just for puppies, although it is often the first clip that young poodles will undergo. This is also the clip that show-standard puppies are expected to be presented in until they reach their first birthday. The puppy clip involves shaving the face, feet and tail, leaving a pom-pom on the end of the tail. The body of the coat is left long, with feathering used to blend the extremities into the body. If the body hair is trimmed, this is not considered to constitute a true puppy clip.
This modified version of the puppy clip follows the basic pattern of the puppy clip proper, but the body can be trimmed down with scissors, and the fur on the top of the head is shaped as well.
While the teddy bear clip is known as a clipping style, strictly speaking it is not a clip, as it is achieved by hand with scissors. The legs, tail and body fur are all shortened to around a couple of inches long, and the fur across all of these areas should be the same length. The head of the poodle is rounded and shaped, but not coiffed into the signature topknot that many poodle hairstyles sport.
This clip (or rather, trimming style) is a good pick if you want to keep your poodle’s appearance as natural as possible, but because it leaves the poodle with long fur across the body, it can also be relatively high maintenance to take care of. Regular visits to the grooming parlour will be required to keep this clip under control, and regular brushing and combing at home is also required. You should also pay special mind to your poodle’s cleanliness, and ensure that their back end is clean and that stray particles of food do not remain stuck to their face after mealtimes!